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Speaker Biographies

Kathryn Schneider PT, PhD, DipManipPT, Clinical Specialist-Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy, Certificate in Vestibular Rehabilitation is an Assistant Professor and Clinician Scientist (Physiotherapist) at the Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre, Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary. Her research focuses on the prevention, detection and treatment of sport-related concussion.  Her previous work has identified a large treatment effect using multimodal physiotherapy and vestibular rehabilitation in athletes who have persistent symptoms following concussion. She is a Clinical Specialist in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy, a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapists and has expertise in vestibular rehabilitation, including completion of a Certificate Course in VR (Emory University 2003) and an Advances in VR course (Duke 2009). Her clinical practice focuses on the treatment of recreational to elite/professional athletes with ongoing symptoms following sport-related concussion. She has developed and instructs continuing education courses for physiotherapists and health care professionals in the area of vestibular rehabilitation, cervical spine assessment/treatment and sport-related concussion.  She was recognized by Avenue Magazine as “Top 40 Under 40” in 2012 and was the recipient of the Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) Champion of Vestibular Medicine Award in 2015. Invited speaking highlights include the 4th and 5th International Consensus Conferences on Concussion in Sport, International Olympic Committee (IOC) medical meetings at the Sochi, Rio and PyeongChang Olympic games, and many additional International and National Sport meetings. Over the past 7 years, she has worked with many local, provincial and national sport organizations and health care teams to develop and implement evidence-based concussion protocols and processes. She represents the Canadian Physiotherapy Association on the Canadian Concussion Collaborative, is a member of the Federal Government Working Group on Concussion in Sport and Parachute’s Expert Advisory Committee on Concussion in Sport.

Gordon Stringeris the father of Rowan Stringer.  Rowan died on May 12, 2013, from Second Impact Syndrome, the result of three unrecognised, undiagnosed, untreated concussions in a span of 6 days.  Since that day Gordon and his wife Kathleen have advocated for both organ donation (Rowan was a donor) and for increased awareness and education regarding recognition of concussions and their acute, chronic and in extreme cases like Rowan’s, lethal effects.  Following a Coroner’s Inquest into Rowan’s death in May of 2015 he has worked to ensure that the 49 Coroner’s Jury recommendations were implemented. On March 6, 2018 “Rowan’s Law” was passed in Ontario. The first of the Jury recommendations, and the first Concussion legislation in Canada. The remaining 20 jury recommendations will be addressed in the future based on Report of the Rowan’s Law Advisory Committee.  Gordon and Kathleen continue their quest to make sure what happened to their daughter happens to no others. Moving forward they continue to work towards having Ontario’s “Rowan’s Law” replicated across Canada.

Dr. Nathan Steinhafel, MS, OD, FAAOreceived his Doctor of Optometry degree from the Southern California College of Optometry and completed his residency pediatric optometry, binocular vision, and vision rehabilitation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he also served as a clinical instructor. Dr. Steinhafel also holds a Master’s of Science degree in Neurophysiology from Brigham Young University. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry within the neuro optometric section and was a masked examiner for the pediatric eye disease investigator group (PEDIG). He is a member of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association. Dr. Steinhafel is an industry consultant and part of the speaker’s bureau for ImPACT technologies, a clinical research group centered on concussion testing. He is currently in clinical practice and director of TBI vision services at Armstrong Eye Care Associates in Western Pennsylvania and works in adjunct with regional hospitals devoted to TBI including UPMC’s Department of Sports Medicine and UPMC Centers for Rehab Services. He continues to contribute to pediatric and special needs programs at The Watson Institute and The Children’s Institute in Pittsburgh. His clinical specialties include amblyopia, strabismus, binocular vision, adult motilities, traumatic brain injury, and vision therapy.

Sheelah Woodhouse, PT, BScPT, Vestibular Physiotherapistgraduated as a Physiotherapist from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine in 1991.  After several years of orthopedic private practice she discovered Vestibular Rehabilitation which became her primary focus and passion.  She has pursued extensive post-graduate education in the field, including her Certificate in Vestibular Rehabilitation in 2000, Advanced Certificate, and is now part of the faculty at Emory University providing the ‘gold standard’ competency-based training.  In 2000, she started one of Canada’s first clinics exclusively dedicated to providing Vestibular Rehabilitation in Calgary. She joined LifeMark Health in 2006 as the Director of Vestibular Rehabilitation to be able to expand Canadians’ access this specialty service, training and supporting what is now a team of over 120 therapists at more than 85 Lifemark locations across the country.  She was on the advisory committee for the development and writing of the recently published clinical practice guidelines in Vestibular Rehabilitation and is Past-President of the Vestibular Disorders Association. She has a long history of educating the public, medical and insurance communities about the benefits of Vestibular Rehabilitation. 

Brian L. Brooks, PhD, RPsych is a pediatric neuropsychologist and director of neuropsychology services at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He is also an adjunct faculty member with the Departments of Pediatrics, Clinical Neurosciences, and Psychology at the University of Calgary, a full member with the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, an associate member of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, and the research lead for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Complex Concussion Clinic. His primary research focus is on neuropsychological outcomes from concussion, including early diagnosis, prognostication of outcome, potential treatment options, and long term effects. He has over 100 peer-reviewed journal publications in the field of neuropsychology, including papers on psychometrics, test interpretation, performance validity testing, and outcomes from various medical, neurological, and psychiatric diseases. He has been recognized with several distinctions from the National Academy of Neuropsychology, including twice receiving the Nelson Butters award 2010 and 2014, receiving the early career award in 2014, and being elected as a fellow in 2015. He is currently supported by an Embedded Clinician Researcher award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Keith Owen Yeates, Ph.D., is the Ronald and Irene Ward Chair in Pediatric Brain Injury and Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada. He leads the University’s Integrated Concussion Research Program. Dr. Yeates is one of the world’s leading scientists studying traumatic brain injury and concussion in childhood. He has a 30 year track record of grant funding for his research, and has published over 245 peer-reviewed journal articles, 40 book chapters, and 5 edited or co-authored books. Dr. Yeates was co-lead author of the report of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Expert Panel on Acute Diagnosis and Management of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury among Children and Adolescents, and an invited expert panel observer at the 5th International Consensus Conference on Concussion in Sport in Berlin. He has served as President of the Society of Clinical Neuropsychology of the American Psychological Association, and is currently President of the International Neuropsychological Society. 

Julie Rabnett PTis a physiotherapist that works in private practice at Lifemark Sport Medicine at the Repsol Sport Centre in Calgary. Julie grew up competitively alpine ski racing and ultimately raced for the Canadian Alpine Ski Team. After retiring from sport she went on to complete her BSc from the University of Calgary and her MScPT from the University of Alberta in 2012. Julie has worked as a physiotherapist with the Canada Para Alpine Ski Team since 2013 and has traveled to the Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Games as a medical team member. She currently also works with the Canadian Para Track and Field team and the Canadian Men’s Water Polo Team.

Paul Hunter PT, FCAMPT, CGIMS, Cert Sport Physio has been a consultant to the Canadian Sport Institute since 2007 and the Medical Team Lead throughout the Sochi and PyeongChang Olympics Games for the Canadian Long Track Speed Skating Team.  He has covered over 30 International Speed Skating World Cup Competitions. These include being the physiotherapist for the short track speed skating team for FISU Winter Universiade in Erzurum, Turkey and World Junior Long Track Speed Skating Championships in Seinajoki, Finland.   Paul Hunter is also a physiotherapist and co-owner of Marda Loop Physiotherapy, a community based private practice sport and orthopaedic clinic located in Calgary, Canada. Paul has done the planning for the last 3 Olympic quadrennials. Prior to the Vancouver Games Paul was the physiotherapist for the Canadian Short Track Speed Skating Team.  Following the Vancouver Games, he assumed the Medical Lead position for the Canadian Long Track Speed Skating team and planning for the Sochi and PyeongChang Olympic Games. As the Team Medical Lead for Speed Skating Canada he was responsible for coordinating the medical team members and ensuring that athletes received proactive, reactive and trackside medical care as part of their performance plan.  This role included the assessment of all the speed skating athletes from the National, Development and Next Generation program, the creation of strategic plans for the athletes, gap analysis and implementation of action plans. Paul’s responsibilities included coordinating the medical staffing throughout the year for daily therapy, track side coverage and domestic and international competitions. Paul is also completing his fourth year and second term on the Sport Physiotherapy Canada National Board. The mission of Sport Physiotherapy Canada is to provide leadership and direction to membersfor the advancement of sport physical therapy. He has been a key member in transforming the regulations and the standards for qualifying examinations within Sport Physiotherapy Canada.  Through his work with National Sport Organizations he has also been involved in mentoring the next generation of physiotherapists to achieve their certification and to advance their career in sport medicine locally and nationally. Paul was a presenter at Own The Podium’s, Sport Innovation Summit in Calgary 2017.  For the last 7 years he has been a Scouts Canada troop leader leading youth through weekly meetings. Most recently planning and leading 19 youth on a 16-day camping and remote canoeing adventure in Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan. Though he was born in Vancouver he currently lives in Calgary, Canada with his physiotherapist wife and two active boys.

Lauren VickeryPTgraduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and went on to complete a Master’s of Science in Physiotherapy in 2010. She moved to Calgary shortly after graduation and has worked in private practice for the last 9 years. Lauren completed her advanced diploma in manual and manipulative therapy in 2015 and became a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Therapy. She is licensed in medical acupuncture and a certified Gunn IMS practitioner. Additionally, she has completed advanced training in vestibular rehabilitation and has worked as part of a multidisciplinary concussion clinic at Copeman Healthcare for the last six years. Lauren obtained her Sport Physiotherapy Certificate in 2017 and became the first in Canada to graduate with a Sport Physiotherapy Diploma through the International Olympic Committee in 2018. Lauren works as a contractor for the Canadian Sports Institute Calgary and was the medical lead for the Canadian National Luge Team from 2015-2018 . She attended over 25 world cup competitions, 2 world championships and the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang. Prior to working with luge, Lauren had the opportunity to be the medical lead for the Canadian Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team for the 2015 Para Pan American games and 2016 World ParaVolley Championships. Following the 2018 Olympic Games, Lauren has taken on a new challenge as the medical lead and physiotherapist for the national long track speed skating program.

Dr. Constance (Connie) Lebrunis a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Department of Family Medicine at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, and a consultant Sports and Exercise Medicine physician at the Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic. Her practice focuses on care of musculoskeletal and medical issues of physically active individuals.  Research interests include health considerations of active girls and women (Female Athlete Triad, and Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport – RED-S) and return-to-play issues, i.e. concussion in sport. She was a member of the Canadian Medical Team for 4 Summer Olympic Games: 2008, 2004, 2000, and 1996; and 3 Winter Olympics: 2006, 2010 (Medical Director, Canadian Snowboard Federation 2007-2011) and 2014 (Chief Doctor). Other medical Games experiences include Pan-American Games (1987, 1991, 2003), Francophone Games (1994) and World Student Games (1989, 1999 and recently appointed Chief Medical Officer for Canada for Summer 2019 Universiade in Napoli, Italy). She was a former member of the Canadian Women’s Volleyball Team, competing in World Student Games herself (1973, 1977), 1975 Pan-American Games and 1976 Montreal Olympics. 

Penny Werthner, PhD,is Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Her research is in the area of life-long learning from a pedagogical perspective, particularly in the area of high performance coaches; women and sport; and the use of heart rate variability biofeedback and neurofeedback for optimal performance in high performance sport. She is a former Olympic athlete in Athletics and continues to work with coaches and athletes at the Olympic level of sport. 

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Denny Morrison – SPEED SKATING

2010 Olympic Gold Medalist – Team Pursuit
2014 Olympic Silver Medalist – 1000m
2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist – 1500m
2006 Olympic Silver Medalist – Team Pursuit
2012 and 2008 World Champion – 1500m
Social Followers: Twitter, 11,000; Instagram, 2,335

Since winning two medals in Sochi 2014 – including a silver-medal performance in the men’s 1000m after teammate Gilmore Junio’s selfless gesture – Denny Morrison has lived through one of the most challenging and extraordinary years imaginable.

On May 7, 2015, Denny was involved in a vehicle collision that almost claimed his life when a car turned left in front of him.  He was launched from his motorcycle and woke up in the hospital 36-hours later with a horrific list of injuries: a broken femur, torn ACL, fractured elbow, lacerated liver, ruptured kidneys, a punctured lung, global internal damage, and a moderate head injury.

Determined to skate again, Denny completed his comeback with a dramatic, and surprisingly competitive race, at the Olympic Oval Finale only 9-months after the accident, on March 18, 2016. With his comeback complete, Denny and fellow speed skater Josie Spence, planned an off-season bike trip on the Arizona Trail — a 1200km route from Mexico to the Northern Utah border.

It was after the trip on a relaxing day in Salt Lake that Josie, who is trained in first aid, recognized the symptoms of a stroke and insisted they go to the hospital.  “Josie’s undoubtedly my guardian angel,” said Denny. “She saved my life with her quick reaction when I experienced a stroke and inspired me to work through these setbacks. She’s made me a better athlete and better person because of it.”

No stranger to comebacks, he understands that the road to Pyeongchang 2018 may be his most difficult. This story keeps getting better.

During on-ice training in late September 2016, to the surprise of coaches and teammates, Denny skated to a personal best in the 3000m and found his way onto the World Cup podium in the Team Pursuit a couple months later.He credited a simple yet hard-earned philosophy for the almost unbelieveable feats:

No Excuses.

“There’s always obstacles and they always need to be overcome,” said Denny after the race. “If we start setting excuses for ourselves, then we’ll never overcome anything.”

Then came PyeongChang 2018, Denny had written one of the most remarkable comeback stories in Canada’s sporting history…